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E.g., 21-10-2021
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    Gavekal Research

    Will Higher Rates Kill US Housing?

    Both US house prices and interest rates have experienced big upward moves—raising the obvious question of whether a higher cost of money will derail the housing recovery. Our approach was to test affordability levels based on a range of higher interest rates. We found that the housing market can easily bear 10-year treasury yields at 3%, and may eventually bear higher rates than that, but the fast and easy gains are behind us.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    What's Wrong With An Optimistic Fed?

    The Federal Reserve made no policy changes yesterday—short rates remain near zero and quantitative easing continues at a fast clip of $85bn per month. The Fed did however adjust its economic projections, for the better—unemployment is expected to fall faster than previously thought, and inflation lower. Chairman Bernanke then spent an hour with reporters trying to clarify what this means for the future policy trajectory.

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (19 June 2013)

    In the latest Five Corners biweekly review of global economics and investment:

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Truth About US Rates

    Interest rates in the US are extraordinarily low. It is common to blame this situation on central bank manipulation, but Federal Reserve bond buying is only part of the story. The bigger reason for ultra-low rates is that bond markets are pricing in an assumption that the past five years of abnormally low nominal GDP growth will be repeated. We think this is unlikely: nominal GDP growth is picking up and bond yields will rise with it. The...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Is It A Bond Bear Market?

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Good, But Not Out Of The Woods Yet

    After weeks of relentlessly disappointing growth data, the US finally delivered a major positive release. Stronger-than-expected payroll numbers set off an equities rally and pushed up bond yields. This report comes as a relief —but we are not out of the woods yet.

    5
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    Gavekal Research

    New Century, New Structural Growth Rates

    In the second half of the last century, the US labor force was swelled by baby boomers and a surge of female participation. These major demographic forces shaped the economy and established growth expectations. But they have since changed dramatically. The structural growth rate of the labor force is now, and will continue to be, slow and steady. All else equal, this implies a slower and steadier structural growth rate of the economy.

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    Why Does Velocity Fall In Spring?

    Tolstoy said that “spring is the time of plans and projects.” Obviously, Tolstoy did not manage money as for the fourth year in a row, spring appears to be the time when US growth indicators roll over, the euro project threatens suicide, and investor risk appetite falls out of bed. To be honest, we are still scratching our heads for a solid explanation (and very much welcome comments from our wise readers). But below are a few possibilities to...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Riding A Bull Market With No Conviction

    The Irish poet WB Yeats wrote, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” We see something similar in equity markets. With the S&P 500 on Tuesday hitting a new all-time high, we clearly remain in bull market territory. Central bank easing measures such as that just announced by the Bank of Japan mean we could push higher. And yet we see plenty of evidence that these new peaks have come on the back of...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    Beyond The Sequester

    Newspaper headlines are focused on the sequester, but we are more interested in the recent positive developments in the private sector. After all, it is the private sector that truly drives the economy forward over the long run, not the government.

    1
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    Gavekal Research

    Is US Housing Cheap, Really?

    US homebuilder stocks were hit especially hard last week by the revelation that some Federal Reserve policymakers want an early end to quantitative easing. Such an investor response makes sense given that the US housing recovery has been fuelled by super low mortgage rates, so any “exit” from easy money must be a big negative. Follow this logic a little further and a thornier question is whether US housing, after an approximate 25% price decline...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    The Fed In The Red

    QE3 has been dubbed “QE Infinity” because it does not have an expiration date. But a growing constituency at the Federal Reserve now appears to be asking whether a third quantitative easing program was one too many. According to the minutes of January 29-30 FOMC meeting, released yesterday: “A number of participants stated that an ongoing evaluation of the efficacy, costs, and risks of asset purchases might well lead the Committee to taper or...

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    US Consumers: Death By Taxes?

    A slew of tax increases went into effect in the United State on January 1st, raising concerns that the death of consumption will follow. Nearly all US consumers will be affected—either by the 2 percentage point increase in the payroll tax, the 4.6pp rise of the top marginal tax rate, the new Medicare surtax, higher capital gain and dividend taxes, etc. Without a doubt, this is a significant headwind for US consumption. But there are two major...

    8
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    Gavekal Research

    US Dipping Into Recession? Not Yet

    US GDP just contracted for the first time since the 2007-09 recession. It was a mere –0.1% decline, but this is still rather unsettling given there is only one example to be found over the last 50 years, in 1977, when US GDP growth dipped below zero without marking the start of a recession. And yet markets shrugged off this shocking news—as they should have. Behind the poor headline number, the components indicate that underlying domestic growth...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    The Big Cap Effect Is Not About To Ebb

    Small firms, and very often newly formed endeavors, have long fuelled job growth in the US. Indeed, it has become axiomatic in public discourse that the business of America is small business. Hence, a reduction in the number of startups and the tendency for small firms to employ fewer workers has sparked a predictable blame game: those with a “declinist” view contend that the US is losing its innovative edge, mainstream economists point to...

    4
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    Gavekal Research

    A Pulse From US Manufacturing

    Maybe the patient lives. 2013 has already started to deliver early indications that we are indeed at an inflection point in global growth. Canada reported yesterday that its Ivey PMI rebounded to an expansionary level of 52.8 in December, from 47.5; respondents to Germany’s IFO survey of business expectations (highly correlated to German exports) has risen for two straight months. And while less obvious, US data is also beginning to stir. Recent...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    A New Threat To The US Recovery

    Improvements in the US domestic sector have raised hopes that the US will pull the global economy out of its current funk. But what if the cycle is working in reverse—with weakness beyond American shores feeding back to undermine the nascent recovery at home? After 37 straight months of growth, employment in US manufacturing contracted in November for the first time since 2009, according to ISM. This raises the concern that weak growth in the...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Bernanke Turning Hawkish?

    Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke rattled markets yesterday when he explained why the potential growth rate of the US economy appears to have declined while the structural unemployment rate has risen. The initial reaction from equity markets was negative, for an obvious reason: If the chairman is now raising his target unemployment rate, this implies a shorter shelf-life for extremely easy monetary policies.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    US Tax Changes In A Brave New World

    It is a common complaint that US corporations are sitting on exceptional piles of cash, while the domestic economy experiences lackluster growth in capital spending and employment. With weak growth comes lower tax revenues. As such, policymakers are looking at new ways to raise revenues from corporates and from individuals (mostly the wealthiest). But we live in a “Brave New World” of global operations, fragmented supply chains, and light,...

    3
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    Gavekal Research

    Four More Years

    The American electorate may share the same national bed, but they have vastly different dreams. Our take on the election’s significance is similarly bifurcated—a cathartic political cleansing allowing for a deal on the fiscal cliff (Anatole) to disaster (Charles). Arthur asks whether the Republican Party can win nationally without reconciling itself to America’s changed demographics and the realities of the new knowledge-intense economy. Will...

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